JELLYFISH BLOOMS are on the rise. Overfishing decreases the numbers of jellyfish competitors. But also, jellyfish adore the rising water temperatures and increasing ocean acidification.
Jellyfish in Australia can sting us. Painfully. When they bloom out of control, we can get more serious problems than getting stung while swimming. Jellyfish blooms can disrupt fishing boats, break nets, they can clog engines, and affect other species. And, it isn’t just Australia that has a problem with these floating blobs. Jellyfish blooms have already destroyed entire fish farms in Europe. They have even blocked cooling systems of power stations near the coast.
Jellyfish Blooms Be Gone!
A German project, called GoJelly, would like to transform problematic jellyfish into a resource. One idea is to use the jellyfish to battle another, man-made threat. Studies have shown that the mucus from jellyfish can catch microplastic that currently is a polluting scourge in the oceans.
GoJelly are developing a filter from the mucus of jellyfish that will capture microplastics from household products. It will prevent the microplastic from entering the marine ecosystem. Microplastics come from fleece sweaters, the breakdown of plastic products or from cosmetics and other modern products.
Jellyfish can also be used as fertiliser for agriculture or as aquaculture feed. Said the GoJelly team, “Fish in fish farms are currently fed with captured wild fish, which does not reduce the problem of overfishing. Jellyfish as feed would be much more sustainable and would protect natural fish stocks.”
Another option is using jellyfish as food for humans. In some countries, jellyfish is already on the menu. As long as the end product is no longer slimy, it could also gain greater general acceptance.
Finally, jellyfish contain collagen, a substance very much sought after in the cosmetics industry. The GoJelly team are seeing the jellyfish overpopulation problem as a potential problem solver. The answer is drifting right in front of us. Watch this space! ■
Stung by a jellyfish? Here’s how to fix it.
Editor for Silver Magazine Gold Coast